The 10 CV Mistakes You Should Look Out For

In the recruitment process, your CV is likely to be the first impression employers have of you. When an employer has a pile of CVs in front of them, it can be easy to dismiss ones that aren’t quite up to scratch. It should therefore be a top priority that you assess your CV, and ensure it’s the best it could possibly be before sending it to a potential employer. Check your CV for any blunders, and take note of these 10 common mistakes you shouldn’t be making:


(1)    Not Tailoring Your CV to the Employer You’re Targeting

When it comes to CV writing, one size definitely does not fit all. It’s crucial to make sure your CV is tweaked to specifically relate to the job you’re applying for, and it will be obvious to the recruiter if it hasn’t been. Make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills you have that are relevant. The employer will be looking for information that shows that you’re the perfect candidate for the role, so it’s vital that you make the effort to show them this.


(2)    Lying on Your CV

Of course, you want to show yourself in the best light but don’t forget that employers aren’t stupid, and they can spot an exaggerated CV a mile off. Lying about previous job titles or grades at university might have worked for that friend of a friend you once heard about, but it’s definitely not worth the risk. These things are easy to check, and if you’re potential employer identifies a fib – no matter how big or small – it will undeniably go against you. Stick to the facts and it will reflect better on you, as well as making interviews less stressful.


(3)    Grammar and Spelling Errors

There really isn’t any excuse for this. Spelling and grammar mistakes are probably among the most common CV mistakes job-seekers make, and although it’s easy to do while drafting your CV, it absolutely shouldn’t make it to the final copy. Once you’ve completed your CV, take a break from it and return later with fresh eyes. Re-reading it with a new perspective with help you notice any flaws. Even better, ask a friend or family member to proof-read your CV before you send it to potential employers. 


(4)    Not Explaining the Impact of Your Skills

It’s all well and good rounding off the responsibilities you had in previous roles, but what is really useful to the recruiter is knowing what your work led to. Explaining the impact of your skills and responsibilities can show potential employers what you have achieved, and therefore what you could bring to their business.


(5)    Being a Cliché

Try to avoid the stereotypical statements made on CVs. ‘Positive thinker who works well in a team’ might sound good to you, but to a potential employer it’s just another line that’s on more or less every other CV they have read that day. Of course, you want to get these qualities across – however, just word them carefully so as to not sound like every other job-seeker out there.


(6)    Embarrassing Email Address or File Name

The email address you made when you were 15 might have seemed good at the time, but to employers… not so much. If you’re email address is something you’d be slightly embarrassed to put on a professional document, then don’t. Make a new, more suited email address that you can use purely for work purposes. Similarly, when attaching your CV to an email or job application don’t forget that the recipient can clearly see what you’ve saved the file as. Make sure you have it saved as something professional, such as ‘Your Name CV’, rather than something along the lines of ‘my cv 3rd draft best one’. This isn’t as major an issue as the email address, but could leave employers thinking you’re a bit careless.


(7)    Formatting

Be consistent. Stick to the same font throughout your full CV, and only change the text size for headings. Some people think adding colour can make your CV stand out, but in most cases, it’s best to stick with black and white or even just a subtle touch of colour for headings. With regards to images and photographs, these should generally be avoided unless the job application has specifically asked for one.


(8)    Too Long

As already mentioned, your CV is not the only one recruiters will have to read. They’ll likely have a mountain of CVs to sift through, meaning it’s important not to bore them. When it comes to the length of a CV, one or two pages should suffice – anymore than this and it’d be a surprise if anyone actually read through the full thing. Long paragraphs aren’t necessary – keep things concise with bullet points under each heading, and only include the relevant information for the specific job you’re applying for. Also, don’t include full details of references. These can be provided once asked for.


(9)    Unexplained Gaps in Between Jobs

It’s common for people to have gaps between employment, but what can become a problem is leaving these unexplained. If you’ve had a few weeks out of work, this can go without being mentioned, but anytime long than a month or two should be acknowledged. It can look suspicious to employers having an extended amount of time unaccounted for, so whether it was due to travelling, illness or just working on personal projects – explain it. It shows you’ve been doing something constructive with your time out of work.


(10)   Salary Requirements

Your CV isn’t the appropriate place to disclose salary requirements or requests. This is something that can wait until after the interview process, once you are in the clear running for the job. Adding salary requirements to your CV could also put you at danger of losing money, if the job you are applying for actually pays more than you expect.


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